Voting District Lawsuits Filed
The claims listed in the lawsuit, which was filed on November 3, include:
Special Report - November 8, 2011
A coalition of citizens from across the state filed a lawsuit last week in Wake County Superior Court, challenging the new voting districts approved by the North Carolina General Assembly this summer. According to a press release from the North Carolina Democratic Party, the coalition and 44 North Carolinians who brought the suit are asking “that the maps be declared unconstitutional and prohibited for use in any election.” The plaintiffs include some current and past Democrat elected officials.
- That the General Assembly violated a State Constitutional “prohibition against dividing counties,” unless “necessary to comply with federal law.” The new maps for NC State Senate districts split 19 counties, and the new maps for the NC State House split 49 counties.
- That the General Assembly “transgressed its constitutional limits on its powers and compromised the integrity of the voting process by arbitrarily and capriciously splitting hundreds of precincts and combining pieces of those split precincts to construct districts.”
- That the new maps isolate “the State’s Black citizens in a small number of districts”known as “packing”in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. and N.C. Constitutions.
- That the new maps violate “other constitutional redistricting principles, such as compactness.”
In addition to the above lawsuit, the NC NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Democracy North Carolina, and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, along with 27 registered voters, filed a separate lawsuit on November 4 in Wake County Superior Court also challenging the constitutionality of the new maps, providing very similar arguments against them.
Every 10 years, states are required to redraw district maps for state and national elections to reflect population shifts as determined by the U.S. Census. North Carolina has a long history of contentious redistricting with both the 1991 and 2001 maps being challenged in court. The 2001 maps were argued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in temporary maps being used while the courts and legislature worked out legal maps. Over the last 20 years, more than two-dozen lawsuits have been brought against the state’s electoral maps. These recent lawsuits were filed mere days after the U.S. Department of Justice gave pre-clearance approval to North Carolina’s maps.
“I’m very confident that, as we did with the Justice Department, we’re going to be vindicatedthat we drew fair and legal maps and we followed the letter of the law, and we will win those lawsuits,” Senator Bob Rucho (RMecklenburg), who co-chaired the Senate Redistricting Committee and is named as a defendant in both lawsuits, told WRAL News. “Either win them or have them dismissed for being frivolous or irrelevant to the law we followed. And we'll proceed toward our goal, which is to have fair and legal districts in place for the voters of NC for the 2012 elections.”
Also, lawmakers returned to Raleigh on November 7 to make some technical adjustments to the maps. The General Assembly passed multiple bills Monday (HB 569Greene Commissioners Curative, HB 679Wake Superior Court Curative, HB 777House Curative, SB 283Senate Curative, SB 689Congressional Curative) to correct a glitch that had inadvertently neglected to assign about 500,000 voters across the state to a district or had counted voters multiple times when drawing the maps. Map drawers contributed the error to a glitch in the computer software used to draw the maps, and assured legislators that the fix would not change the ultimate result of the maps.
Feds Approve NC Voting Districts - November 2, 2011
New District Maps Go To Feds - September 6, 2011
GA Finalizes New Maps - August 3, 2011
Redistricting Special Session Begins - July 13, 2011
New District Maps Unveiled - July 12, 2011
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